Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The 4-1-1 on a 9-1-1 rip-off in N.Y.

Syracuse, N.Y. - The cell phone bill says "9-1-1 Service Fee": $1.20. You pay it every month to New York state.

But only 6 cents end up at a 911 center.

Instead, the state spends the money on itself: overtime, fringe benefits, travel, vehicles, new boots, clip-on ties, sun block, spray paint, groceries, dry cleaning and other daily expenses for agencies ranging from the state police to the departments of corrections and parks, state records show.

The National Guard, for example, spent almost $1 million at Oswego's Best Western Captain's Quarters hotel and steak and seafood restaurant and the Econo Lodge Riverfront Inn. That housed and fed up to 21 soldiers who patrolled the nuclear power plants for three years after Sept. 11, 2001.

The state imposed the fee to raise enough money to upgrade 911 technology so dispatchers can find you when you call from your cell phone and can't talk.

For more on this story, go to The (Syracuse) Post-Standard

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